Pinoy tradition lives on in the Big Apple

FUNFARE - Ricky Lo - The Philippine Star
Pinoy tradition lives on in the Big Apple
Aside from shows of local artists, lutongbahay is what brings kababayan together

Tradition is hard to break. In fact, it shouldn’t be broken, must be sustained even if you are hundreds of miles away from home. Nothing, not even a pandemic, can stop Filipinos from getting together and catching up over, yes, servings of pagkaing Pinoy, lasang lutong-bahay.

Welcome to So Sarap, a Filipino restaurant in the Big Apple that lures our kababayan with what it markets as “street food.”

“Walang artista pero ang haba ng pila!” reports Funfare’s New York-based correspondent Felix Manuel. “That is how Fil-Ams in New York described So Sarap NYC’s recent pop-up event at Kabisera on Allen Street in Downtown Manhattan. We had to wait in line for two hours to place our orders and wait another hour for it to be served. People came from as far as Delaware to satisfy their cravings for Pinoy street food that So Sarap NYC offers. The owners were so surprised with the huge turnout. For many, it was the nostalgia that lured them. Imagine eating your favorite fish ball, kwek-kwek and balut in a kariton.”

Funfare correspondent Felix Manuel (in shades) and Boots Babushka don’t mind waiting one hour for their order to be serv ed, along with other kababayan.
Felix Manuel

Felix (a Registered Nurse/RN) says that, like everybody around the world, “Fil-Ams have been somehow silenced by the pandemic. Summer is usually the busiest season for the Filipino community. The yearly Philippine Independence Day Parade in Madison Avenue was not held and all scheduled artists from Manila had to postpone their shows indefinitely.”

Fil-Ams craving for Filipino street food in the heart of New York City.
Photos courtesy of Felix Manuel

Speaking of Pinoy entrepreneurs, Felix adds that he agreed with Boots Babushka that food evokes memories of home.

“A newly-opened Filipino restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen is our current favorite,” shares Felix. “Boots simply loves the Adobong Pusit and the Jackfruit Salad. He always orders three different meals every time. The food makes Boots feel nostalgic.”

And I agree with Felix that the pandemic surely changed the way we live.

“But the Pinoys’ penchant for food will remain the same,” he notes.

Top 9 finalists for 2020 Aliwan Fiesta Digital Queen

Also, the Pinoys’ fascination with beauty pageants can’t be dampened by a pandemic. It’s a go for Manila Broadcasting Company (MBC)’s 2020 Aliwan Fiesta Digital Queen search.

Here are the nine finalists:

1. Jannarie Zarzoso of Cabadbaran, Agusandel Norte, 21, a bachelor’s degree graduate from the Fr. Saturnino Urios University and Surigao Education Center.

2. Jasmine Omay of Tarlac, 21, a 5’10” stunner who studied Business Management and Entrepreneurship at Tarlac State University and is now studying to be a pilot.

3. Nicole Angela Crescini, 20, from Boracay (Aklan), a student at Far Eastern University who loves gardening and cooking.

4. Esperanza Francisco, 25, a Tourism graduate from the Mariners Polytechnic Colleges who mans the Front Office of the Avenue Hotel in Naga City.

5. Katrina Anne Johnson of Davao, 22, a Pharmacy graduate from the University of the Immaculate Conception.

6. Bianca Wilhelmina Willemsen of Consolacion, Cebu, 21, studies at Cebu Technological University. The half-Dutch is into karate, baking and designing clothes.

7. Alana Monica Rhedey of Baguio City, 20, studies at the University of the Cordilleras, and is into belly-dancing and painting, and is active with the Baguio Animal Lovers League.

8. Sharon Idone of Iloilo City, 19, a Financial Management freshman at the University of San Agustin, born in Italy and loves to act and dance.

9. Alyssa May Nicholls of Isulan, Sultan Kudarat, 18, a senior high school student who is into singing, sports, nature and cycling. She is batting for wildlife preservation in her province.

The ladies will compete in three successive weekly episodes streamed live on MBC’s social media platforms via the Facebook pages of Aliwan Fiesta, Love Radio, Yes The Best, Easy Rock and RadyoNatin. The competition segments will also be aired over DZRH News Television.

On Sept. 19, they will showcase their talents in the visual and performing arts, or special skills in athletics and the culinary arts. On Sept. 26, following the modeling competition, they will be grilled by the jury in the Q&A portion.

The winners will be announced and awarded on Oct. 3. The Aliwan Fiesta Digital Queen 2020 will receive P50,000, first runner-up P25,000 and the second runner-up P15,000. All three will likewise receive the counterpart amounts for their respective chosen charities, while the six other candidates will take home consolation prizes. There will be special awards for Netizens Choice, Miss Unique Smile, Miss TibayTanduay, Miss Charm and Miss White Rose.

The Digital Queen 2020 is a distinct pageant from Reyna ng Aliwan which will continue to be part of the mammoth festive convergence which ties together the country’s tourism efforts, but which was cancelled this year due to the pandemic. — Reported by Celso de Guzman Caparas

(E-mail reactions at rickylophilstar@gmail.com. For more updates, photos and videos, visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on Instagram @therealrickylo.)

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